Making Math Fun: 10 Ways to Practice Math at Home

If your child is having trouble with math, you may be able to help. Some students struggle with math as it's taught in the classroom, yet there are myriad ways to make math engaging and enjoyable outside of the classroom. Here are ten ways you can help make practicing math at home fun for your child.

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Father and son counting pennies

#1 Fun with Money

Pocket change can be a terrific learning tool with numerous possibilities. For example, you can ask your child to find different permutations of coins that add up to a certain total. You could also have your child hold coins without looking at them, then ask him or her to determine the total value based on their size and feel. This activity develops addition and subtraction skills, as well as teaching money management.

#2 Fill the Container

Use measuring cups, drink glasses or plastic bottles. Ask your child to estimate which item will hold the most water or uncooked rice, or to rank them from least to most. After filling one, pour its contents in another to see how the capacity varies. This geometry activity teaches about comparisons, volume and measurement. It's more challenging with differently-shaped containers.

#3 The Coupon Game

The grocery store is full of opportunities for math education. Have your child clip a variety of coupons offering different amounts of savings. At the grocery store, ask your child to determine how much items cost when using a coupon. You can also ask how much it costs to purchase multiple items instead of just one. This game teaches addition, subtraction and percentages.

#4 Newspaper Search

Take a newspaper or magazine and ask your child to find a sequence of numbers, such as one to ten or one to 100. The child should cut out the numbers and arrange them in order on a piece of paper. This game helps your child learn to build and read charts, as well as develop number recognition.

#5 Unmaking Boxes

Take cereal boxes, paper towel rolls and other 3-dimensional objects and ask your child what shapes they may be when taken apart. Then, working with your child, unfold or deconstruct them to see the shapes. When possible, have your child reassemble them to see how the pieces come together. This geometry activity fosters an improved understanding of 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional shapes.

#6 Let's Schedule!

Discuss with your child the activities that need to get done in a day, such as various errands or projects at home. Plan how long each activity should take, including transit times for activities outside of the home. Create a schedule and update it as you are ahead of or behind the plan throughout the day. In addition to time management, this activity teaches your child about addition and subtraction.

Father and daughter in car

#7 License Plate Math

When traveling by car, call out numbers from license plates you see. Have your child try to sum the digits. For example, a license plate with a 9, 5, 1, 3, 2 and 8 would add up to 28. For a more complicated game, your child could add and subtract in an alternating sequence. Subtracting the numbers in sequence would result in 22. This game encourages the development of addition, subtraction and memory skills.

#8 The Gas Station Game

While at the gas station, note how much a gallon of gas costs. Ask your child to determine how much five gallons, or another amount, would cost. Estimate your car's miles per gallon average. Have your child determine how far the new tank of gas will go. This game builds a variety of skills, including multiplication and number relationships.

#9 Heads or Tails

There are numerous iterations of coin flipping games you can play with your child. For example, you can flip a coin ten times and have your child chart each result. Look for patterns and discuss how the odds of getting heads or tails is constant, regardless of the previous result. This game teaches your child about probability.

#10 Mapping the Clock

Work with your child to develop a chart that outlines the activities he or she does during the day and the time spent on each. This may include time sleeping, at school or completing homework. Then map the recorded events on a circular piece of paper that represents a clock. Compare several days or the graphs for different family members. This activity aids in understanding of basic statistics analysis. It also trains your child to use pie graphs.

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